Authentic language tests: Where from and where to?

Elana Shohamy, Thea Reves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In the first part of the paper the development of language tests towards authenticity is surveyed. The advantages and shortcomings of indirect vs direct (authentic) types are analysed. Whereas indirect tests were more efficient and lent themselves to psychometric analyses, they did not tap real-life language. On the other hand, direct tests based on real interactions aim at capturing real language and its variations in use. In the second part of the paper two problems involved in authentic tests are addressed: a) The difficulty of applying appropriate psychometric measures, caused by the complexity of tapping the whole construct of authentic language, and b) the large number of ‘test’ variables which interfere with the authenticity of the language produced and reduce it to authentic ‘test language’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
JournalLanguage Testing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1985


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